Originally posted on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 6/14/12


The highly anticipated arbitration hearing between the NBA and its Players Union was held yesterday. Though no decision was immediately made, with whom the arbitrator sides will undoubtedly be a huge factor in the Knicks' offseason plans.

Should the Players Union win, players like Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak will retain their Bird Rights heading into free agency. Thus, the Knicks would not have to dip into their Midlevel Exception to sign either one. If the arbitrator sides with the league, however, the team's exception will almost surely be solely dedicated to Lin. They would then need to get creative in order to re-sign Novak.

While retaining Lin and Novak, both of whom who electrified the Big Apple last season, is priority number one, New York is hoping to be able to sign both and still save the MLE to bring in more talent.

With a plethora of veteran players available this summer, the Knicks could look to fill certain voids, bringing in a backup point guard, a veteran shooting guard, or even a backup big man. Personally, it's my belief that not only does Ray Allen fill a void, but his skills and veteran presence make a perfect fit amongst the team's blend of talent. I made the case for luring him to New York (granted Lin, Novak, and the Players Union win the hearing) at The New York Times' NBA blog, "Off the Dribble," just the other day.

But not everyone believes the Knicks are in need of more talent moving forward. NBA Commissioner David Stern appeared on ESPN Radio in New York to touch on some of the league's more pressing issues, the hearing included.

As fans and media alike ponder the importance of the Players Union winning the hearing just so the Knicks have the MLE available for an outside talent, Stern reminded all that even if the NBPA lose the hearing (which he believes they will), the Knicks are still likely to retain Jeremy Lin regardless.

And to Stern, continuing to pair an up and coming guard like Lin with the team's existing talent is a huge move in the right direction. The Commissioner not only seemed to recognize the strong foundation the Knicks have begun to build on with Lin, Carmelo Anthony, and Amar'e Stoudemire, but also went on to praise the level of talent of their surrounding pieces. In addition to their stars, Stern cited Tyson Chandler and even Iman Shumpert as strong pieces for New York's future. With all the existent talent, Stern didn't appear to see the need for anyone else major. Putting it more simply, he asserted, "The Knicks are loaded!"

Though Stern may see it that way, various injuries seemed to not only haunt the Knicks all season long, but clearly stood in their way during the postseason. It's important to build depth to ensure as many roster holes are addressed as possible in time for a strong postseason run. Having the MLE readily available for an outside talent would certainly go a long way towards allowing New York to do that.

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